Recently, Human Rights Organisations such as American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch had gathered more than a million signatures in a letter asking for President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden — but his chances of getting the same seem bleak.
While a clemency appeal from Chelsea Manning, an Army Private who had disclosed confidential documents to Wikileaks, has been heard and considered for the Presidential pardon, Snowden’s chances, on the other hand, are dim.
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According to a report published by CNN, the White House has stated that Edward Snowden hasn’t filed any paperwork to seek clemency.
In an interview conducted by ARD and Spiegel in November 2016, Obama said, “I can’t pardon somebody who hasn’t gone before a court and presented themselves, so that’s not something that I would comment on at this point. At the point at which Mr Snowden wants to present himself before the legal authorities and make his argument, then I think those issues come into play.”
While needing to stand trial in order to be granted a Presidential pardon isn’t required, the government’s stand against Snowden is certainly not helping his case.
Snowden has been living under asylum in Russia since he leaked classified government documents which revealed the surveillance procedures followed by the US government and others around the world.
“Even with good intentions, intelligence workers can sometimes make mistakes and be over-zealous,” the US President added.
Earlier this month, Snowden had appealed for mercy on behalf of Chelsea Manning on his twitter account.
Mr. President, if you grant only one act of clemency as you exit the White House, please: free Chelsea Manning. You alone can save her life.
Last month, in a Q&A with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Snowden pointed out that not only the United States but United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have been spying on their citizens using webcams on their personal computers.
During the interview, Snowden said, “The same technologies that are being used to connect us, to tie us together, to let you listen to this right now, are also being used to make records about your activity.”
The US government maintains that Snowden’s disclosure had led to issues with National Security and to receive a Presidential pardon he will have to stand trial in a US court.
With only a few days left in Donald Trump taking over the President’s office in White House, it seems unlikely that Edward Snowden will receive a pardon and be allowed to return to his homeland unless there is a drastic change in President Obama’s heart.